Should I allow pets?
How can I protect my home from being damaged?
An emerging trend is the growing number of tenants with pets in the Private Rental Sector (PRS), and the industry is struggling to adapt. Many landlords do not understand quite how many tenants now own pets.
As a landlord, you are under no legal obligation to accept a tenant with a pet. It is your choice. If you decide you do not want pets, then the only consequence is that you are accepting that your target market is now narrower.
One important point is that we do not advise putting pets into apartments and most head leases will forbid pets anyway. If you talk to animal charities, they are not in favour of pets living in apartments without gardens either.
Not all pets are equal
Some landlords are flexible about pets. They might take a small dog but not a large dog. They might try to find a tenant without a pet, but accept a pet if the otherwise ideal tenant comes along. If you have soft wooden floors, then pets may not be advisable.
Managing the risk
We often negotiate a higher deposit and work with the Lets with Pets guide from the Dogs Trust. It is full of common sense and, following their suggestions, we insert a number of clauses into tenancy agreements where there are pets, including:
1. We will retain £300 from the deposit two months after the tenancy ends in case there are fleas in the property.
2. We require a reference from a previous landlord or vet.
3. The tenant commits to a thorough professional carpet clean, including all upholstery, at the end of the tenancy.
Damage / Insurance
If a pet damages the property, then the tenant is liable for the costs just as if a human tenant had created the damage. Very few landlord insurance policies will provide extra cover for pet damage.
We understand that some landlords are worried about pets living in their homes. However, we believe the risks can be mitigated to a certain extent.
We recommend being open-minded as the private rental sector is likely to see even more tenants who wish to keep pets in their rented homes.
This is one of the 50 most asked questions in our new book: Landlord Intelligence.